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Season 1998-99
Derby County (a) Premiership
Saturday 3rd April 1999, 3pm

 Pride Park

Conditions: warm

Admission: £21

Programme: £tbc

Derby County


  3 - 4  



8 mins: A right wing cross caused all sorts of confusion in the Newcastle defence, Deon Burton netting with a neat overhead kick from close in after Francesco Baiano's half volley came back off Shay Given's crossbar 0-1

11 mins:
Aaron Hughes found space down the United right and sent over a deep cross that the unmarked Gary Speed stooped down to head home from 12 yards out 1-1

22 mins:
Beaten for pace by a through ball that Baiano was pursuing, Nicos Dabizas pulled the attacker's sleeve on the edge of the box. Baiano netted from the resulting penalty kick, tucking it under Given who had dived correctly to his right 1-2

24 mins:
Silvio Maric was fouled on the right hand side of the Derby box and up stepped Gary Speed to bemuse Russell Hoult with a cleanly-struck free kick into the far side of the net 2-2

39 mins:
Another foul on Maric saw him take a free kick quickly infield to Temuri Ketsbaia, who tried an ambitious shot from outside the box that took a sizeable deflection en route to goal 3-2

Half time: Rams 2 Magpies 3

60 mins: Speed advanced to the edge of the Rams box in possession before finding Ketsbaia on the overlap. His well-judged cross picked out Nolberto Solano's run towards the back post and he powerfully volleyed in a rising shot before celebrating with Toon followers behind the goal 4-2

90 mins: Dean Sturridge evaded a couple of challenges on the Derby right before crossing for Paolo Wanchope to head beyond Given 4-3

Full time: Rams 3 Magpies 4

We Said


Ruud Gullit said:
To follow

They Said


Jim Smith:

To follow


stats here




Independent match report:

For a man who claims he will be hiding nothing when Newcastle and Tottenham stage an FA Cup semi-final rehearsal this afternoon, Ruud Gullit was giving little away.

Would Alan Shearer, ruled out on Saturday, be ready to return? Would Duncan Ferguson, now close to fitness, play any part? Did he know which team he would like to put out at Old Trafford next Sunday? Would he be keeping any secrets today?

"No. No secrets," he said. "I won't be playing any mind games with George Graham. I will not be trying to hide things."

Were the Tottenham manager to try to elicit Gullit's first-choice semi- final line-up, however, he would be disappointed. Gullit, apparently, doesn't even know it himself yet.

"I don't have a team in mind," Gullit said. "It depends on form. We played well today, offensively, but you are influenced also by what happens in training as well as in matches."

Newcastle were in training yesterday, with Shearer and Ferguson involved. But to questions over what part they might play today Ruud would say no more than "we shall see". And there the matter was left.

The truth, one suspects, is that Gullit is a manager with a difficult choice to make. He had just witnessed perhaps Newcastle's most incisive attacking performance under his charge (forget the defending, for the moment) yet will surely have been planning to restore Shearer and Dietmar Hamann (nursing minor injuries on Saturday) to the starting eleven and seems to have Ferguson - out since January - to a semi-final schedule. 

To change or not to change a winning side: the classic manager's headache. And on this occasion a subject about which the man hiding nothing would reveal very little.

His inquisitors did try. "Was this the way he wanted his team to play?" someone asked, having listened to Gullit's fulsome praise of the way Temuri Ketsbaia, Silvio Maric and Nolberto Solano had combined in rapid inter- plays at Pride Park and knowing full well that with Ferguson on board - even Shearer, to a lesser degree - the style would have to change.

"There is not one way I want to play, not one ideal," Gullit countered, side-stepping as neatly as in his playing days. "It depends on the opposition, on the occasion." But would he be happy to play this team in the semi- final? "Yes, I would," he said. Aha. Progress...

"But we shall see. Let's just celebrate a victory today, shall we."

It was worth celebrating, too, after 90 minutes of breathtaking entertainment in which Derby, as vibrant in attack and accident prone in defence as their opponents, twice led and twice gave away their advantage before Newcastle finally imposed themselves when Solano volleyed home the goal of the afternoon.

Derby, inspired at first by Francesco Baiano's outstanding form, might have won the day themselves with better luck. Deflections played a part in two of the goals they conceded - crucially in Ketsbaia's case - while only a brilliant save by Shay Given from Mikkel Beck denied them a 3-2 lead. 

What's more, as Jim Smith pointed out, another referee might have shown Nikos Dabizas a red card for the shirt pull on Baiano that gave Derby their penalty.

But Newcastle, driven with great purpose by Rob Lee and Gary Speed in midfield, were buzzing, not least, one imagined, because of the doubts cast by Smith over their eligibility for next season's Uefa Cup, their participation in which, it was confirmed last week, is almost guaranteed by their FA Cup semi-final appearance, win or lose. The idea that Derby might qualify by finishing fifth in the Premiership has been knocked on the head.

"I could tell that they were up for the game," Gullit said. "Offensively, we gave an excellent performance. We were not happy about our defending and as a coach it is my duty to point out the mistakes. But overall I am a happy coach."

Happy... but not sure, it seems, about what to do next.


Page last updated 28 May, 2018